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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 June, 2004, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Blair urged to back speed cameras
Speed camera
Some believe speed cameras are for profits rather than saving lives
The chief constable of north Wales is calling on the government to speak out in support of speed cameras.

Richard Brunstrom said he believed those opposed to the use of cameras have too much influence on road safety policy.

Mr Brunstrom is the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesman on transport matters.

He wants the Government to consider significant increases in the number of cameras, including hidden devices.

Mr Brunstrom said he believed hidden devices would be far more effective in the reduction of speed than the current system of highly-visible yellow boxes.

The senior policeman has long been an advocate of increased use of speed cameras.

'Petrolhead'

He accused Tony Blair and his Cabinet of failing to push the case for cameras strongly enough, for fear of the electoral consequences.

Mr Brunstrom told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think it is the Jeremy Clarkson effect, the petrolhead lobby, a very vocal, but actually very small group.

"The evidence is overwhelming that something more than three-quarters of the population of the country support the use of speed cameras in the way the government is doing it."

Although he stopped short of saying that ministers were "running scared" of the anti-camera lobby, he pointed to a lack of overt support for current road safety policies.

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson was accused of being a 'Petrolhead'

"I would like to see more politicians in the Cabinet, from the prime minister down, standing up and saying 'The evidence is solid. We are going to do this because it saves lives'."

"We ought to have much more leadership, much more determination that we are going to do this," Mr Brunstrom added.

The policeman cited surveys from around the world which suggest that speed cameras are effective in preventing accidents.

He also pointed to research which suggests that hidden devices have a greater impact than visible ones in reducing speed.

Richard Brunstrom
Richard Brunstrom is calling for action from the government
The decision to paint Britain's cameras yellow in order to win public acceptance of the scheme had been correct, but it was now time to move on to hidden devices, he said.

Resources

The number of officers dedicated to traffic duties has fallen over the past decade due to the government decision to prioritise other areas of police work.

Mr Brunstrom added: "Police resources have drifted slowly away from road policing because that is the government's intention."

While the number of injuries caused by vehicle accidents was falling "the number of deaths is not going down", said Mr Brunstrom.

"That may be partly because of the constraints placed on us as a police service by the existing government rules."




SEE ALSO:
Police quell speed cameras anger
17 Jun 04  |  Oxfordshire
Blair hails 'life-saving' cameras
16 Jun 04  |  Politics
Speed cameras 'cut road deaths'
15 Jun 04  |  England
Speed cameras 'cut road injuries'
15 Jun 04  |  West Yorkshire


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